One Piece: 10 strongest characters in East Blue, ranked
The record-breaking manga One Piece, created by Eiichiro Oda, was first serialized on the Weekly Shonen Jump in 1997. The series, which is divided into two halves, often has fans claiming that there's a noticeable difference in quality between the first half and the second half.
The introductory part of the first half of the One Piece series is called the East Blue Saga. It describes Luffy's departure and the gathering of his first crewmembers before entering the famed Grand Line. Because of the entertaining battles and the emotional moments it encompasses, this part of the story is widely appreciated among fans.
During the East Blue Saga, the newfound Strawhat Pirates met many opponents in their path. Most of the time they were able to inflict overwhelming defeats on them. However, sometimes the members of Strawhat had to face challenges from other characters in the series, who posed a significant threat owing to their sheer strength.
This thread will list ten of the strongest characters who appeared in East Blue. It must be noted that these characters have been taken from a pool of both the Strawhat Pirates as well as their opponents.
Disclaimer: This article reflects the writer's personal views.
From Hatchan to Smoker, the 10 strongest One Piece characters in East Blue, ranked
Hatchan is an octopus fish-man and a former member of the Arlong Pirates. After his crew's defeat in the East Blue Saga, he went on many adventures, eventually changing his personality and ending up as becoming an ally for the Strawhat Pirates. The strongest officer at Arlong's disposal and the second strongest swordsman on Fishmen Island, Hatchan packed a massive amount of might.
In general, fish-men are ten times stronger than normal humans. Hatchan is a prominent member of his race, and holds enough strength to bare-handedly defeat a group of fellow fish-men. His physical strength is remarkable, allowing him to keep moving at speed while simultaneously wielding six extremely heavy cutlasses, each weighing over 300 kg.
Despite his capabilities, Hatchan was no match for Roronoa Zoro, who outclassed him easily.
Starting his pirate career (alongside Shanks) as an apprentice in Roger Pirates, Buggy eventually became the captain of his own crew. Through a somewhat both opportunistic and comical behavior, he managed to build up his public image as an influential and dangerous pirate, becoming a Warlord and later even one of the Four Emperors.
Buggy's incredible achievements aren't because of his strength, but thanks to his ability to take advantage of a situation. Despite that, he is a decent fighter.
The powers of Puzzle Puzzle Fruit allow him to split his own body into pieces that he can fully control and thereby become immune to cutting attacks. After tricking his opponents, he uses knives and powerful bombs (Buggy Balls and Muggy Balls) to damage them.
Kuro was the captain of Black Cat Pirates. He tried to fake his own capture and execution, operating under the alias of Klahadore to evade the Marine and deceive Miss Kaya, with the intent of inheriting her fortune. Kuro proved himself to be a dangerous fighter and a master strategist. He was stated to be the second smartest individual in the entire East Blue segment, outranked only by Benn Beckman.
Kuro is a cold-blooded and ruthless pirate who was feared even by his own underlings. His signature technique is the Stealth Foot, a nigh-undetectable stealth movement executed at high speed. Combining his natural agility with the usage of his Cat Claws, a pair of bladed glows, Kuro can tear enemies apart.
However, he met his defeat at the hands of Luffy.
7) Sanji Vinsmoke
Sanji Vinsmoke is the cook and the third strongest fighter in the Strawhat Pirates. Born in North Blue, he rejected his original family and was adopted by Zeff, the owner of the Baratie Restaurant, who taught him both to cook and to fight. Sanji's goal is to find the All Blue, a legendary place where all the seas join in a single one. He is a martial artist who fights using only his legs to kick his opponents.
Despite being a strong fighter and a smart individual, Sanji immediately loses his usual cool when in the presence of women. In the Baratie Arc, he easily defeated Marine officer Fullbody, but found himself overpowered against Gin. In the following Arlong Park Arc, Sanji inflicted a severe defeat on Kurobi, one of Arlong's officers, despite fighting part of the battle at a disadvantage underwater.
Gin is a pirate, known as "Man-Demon". He is the second strongest individual in the Krieg Pirates. Gin is extremely loyal to Krieg, carrying out whatever orders he gives him, no matter how brutal or ruthless they may be. During the Baratie Arc, he met Sanji, who was the first person to show him some kindness. For this reason, he couldn't bring himself to kill him, despite Krieg ordering him otherwise.
For East Blue Saga standards, Gin is a very powerful warrior. He was able to overwhelm Sanji, handing him a severe defeat when the latter was already partially weakened by the previous beating he received from Pearl, Gin's comrade. Another impressive feat is the way he shattered Pearl's iron shield, which was said to be able to withstand cannonballs.
5) Don Krieg
An infamous pirate, Don Krieg is the captain of the Krieg Pirates, a large fleet. After entering the Grand Line, he had his naval force destroyed by Dracule Mihawk. For this reason, Krieg returned to East Blue, where he tried to seize the Baratie to make it his new ship. Nevertheless, his intentions were thwarted by Luffy, who managed to defeat him after a heated battle.
Krieg is a dishonest, cruel and arrogant individual who lacks any moral code. He relies on an arsenal of weapons, exploiting both raw firepower and the element of surprise, which he exercises through some disguised weapons. Krieg possesses great physical strength, and is able to single-handedly lift and wield his one-ton Great Battle Spear while wearing his presumably very heavy golden wootz armor.
A sawshark fish-man, Arlong is the former captain of the Arlong Pirates and a former member of the Sun Pirates. After the death of his captain, Fisher Tiger, Arlong lost all sympathy for the human race. He set his sights on conquering the East Blue, racketeering the local population. Prior to the Strawhats' arrival, Arlong was the strongest pirate in the East Blue.
Arlong is an aggressive fighter adept at Fishman Karate, a kind of martial art that grants the wielder the ability to control any surrounding water source. His physical strength was amazing even by fish-man standards. Arlong possesses shark-like jaws that are capable of shattering metal and crushing stone.
His endurance is such that he was able to withstand many hits from Luffy, before ultimately going down.
3) Roronoa Zoro
Roronoa Zoro is Luffy's right-hand man and the second strongest individual in the Strawhat Pirates. He aims to surpass Dracule Mihawk and become the World's Strongest Swordsman. Before joining the crew, Zoro was already well-renowned in the entire East Blue for his achievements as a bounty hunter. His fearsome fighting abilities and accomplishments in battle earned him the moniker of "Pirate Hunter".
Even at the beginning of the series, Zoro possessed remarkable swordsmanship skills. His endurance, speed and physical strength were also impressive. During the East Blue Saga, Zoro was portrayed as a dominant fighter, seemingly on the same level as Luffy. He effortlessly took down Marine captain Ax Hand Morgan and easily defeated Buggy's second mate, Cabaji, despite the latter fighting dirty.
In the next arc, Zoro overwhelmed Buchi and Sham from the Black Cat Pirates. Later, despite being hindered by the severe injury Mihawk previously inflicted on him, he outclassed Hatchan from the Arlong Pirates. Feverish and furtherly weakened, Zoro later lost against Arlong, but the fish-man implied that the swordsman could have killed him if he wasn't debilitated by that terrible wound.
2) Monkey D. Luffy
The founder and captain of Straw Hat Pirates. Monkey D. Luffy aims to find the One Piece and become the King of Pirates. Despite acting goofy and eccentric, he has proved himself to be an exceptional warrior since the very beginning of the One Piece series. Thanks to the Gom-Gom Fruit, to be revealed later in the series as the Human-Human Model: Nika, Luffy's body has rubber-like properties.
Luffy's Devil Fruit powers are perfectly suited to supplement his fighting style as a brawler, thereby increasing his speed, strength and versatility. Even before starting his adventure, he was already strong enough to easily defeat a Sea King with just a single punch. In Orange Town, Luffy beat Buggy the Clown.
In the following arcs, Luffy defeated Kuro and Don Krieg, two fearsome East Blue captains. During the Arlong Park Arc, he outclassed Arlong, showing might far above the fish-man captain. Luffy's East Blue streak was outstanding, and he overpowered every opponent crossing his path.
The only individuals able to match his strength being his close right-hand man Roronoa Zoro and later Marine Captain Smoker.
"White Hunter" Smoker is a Marine vice-admiral. Strawhats first met him in Logue Town, one of the last East Blue places before entering the Grand Line. In his first appearance, he was ranked captain. Smoker defeated and captured Luffy, but the latter eventually managed to escape. The two became rivals, but developed a strong sense of mutual respect that they would maintain throughout the series.
Smoker is a seasoned Marine soldier who follows his own personal code of justice. He possesses the powers of a rare Logia-class Devil Fruit, the Smoke-Smoke, which allows him to create and freely control smoke, even transforming his body into it. He is also very proficient in wielding a jitte that is tipped in Seastone, a material that immediately weakens Devil Fruit users upon contact.
Among Luffy's many opponents in the East Blue Saga, Smoker is the only one who was able to defeat him. Taking advantage of his Logia powers, Smoker quickly subdued Luffy and was on the verge of arresting him. He would have succeeded, had it not been for Luffy's father, Monkey D. Dragon, who interfered and saved his son from getting captured.
This list of the 10 strongest characters in the East Blue Saga doesn't include Dracule Mihawk, the World's Strongest Swordsman, who is Zoro's final goal to reach and surpass. Since his first comparison in the East Blue Saga, during the Baratie Arc, One Piece fans have been eager to see Mihawk in action.
Although Mihawk would have obviously deserved to tower at the top of this list, his strength, which was recently confirmed to be at Yonko level, is in a category of its own, making the ranking pointless.
Many fans consider the pre-timeskip battles to be the most entertaining in the entire One Piece series. Everything seemed so cool and refreshing because Luffy, Zoro and the others were inexperienced and had room for growth. The East Blue Saga, with Strawhats' very first adventures, seems the emboidment of this.